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Author Topic: swarm traps?  (Read 585 times)
thatguy324
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Location: Alabama


« on: June 13, 2013, 02:12:26 PM »

a few questions on swarm trapping 1. where is the best location to put swarm traps? 2. anyone have plans for a tbh swarm trap or would it just be a nuc tbh or mini tbh? 3. does lemon grass oil work as a swarm lure? 4. how long do i leave them in the swarm trap to make sure the queen is mated? 5. is it to late to start swarm trapping in alabama? 6. how hard will it be to find and kill a queen if its ahb? 7. what type of lemongrass oil do i get food grade or lemongrass oil for aromatherapy

thanks
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JWChesnut
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« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2013, 03:01:49 PM »

You are going to a million opinions here 'cause it is like bait fishing mythos.
>>1. where is the best location to put swarm traps?
My experience: about 50-100 feet from the existing hive in a mostly sunny location facing east or away from my prevailing wind. Book learning -- at mid-height in a tree.  (My traps on a 3' stand work just fine).
>>2. anyone have plans for a tbh swarm trap or would it just be a nuc tbh or mini tbh?
My preferred trap: A double stack 5-frame Nuc with medium frames just in the top.  (see pix). The would be easy to use TB frames with.  However, the old comb scent is key in my opinion, so you want old comb from somewhere.  The bees build from the top down, so medium frames work for the average sized swarm when hung from the top, sometime I get burr comb off the bottom with giant swarms.  I use one old comb in the center, and new foundation on the other four.  So failed traps with moth only attack a single frame.  We don't have SHB so management for that pest in traps is unknown to me.
The incredible research by Dr. T. Seeley clearly shows a 40 Litre trap is preferred over smaller unit sizes - hence the double stack.  His video tracks of scouts show them measuring the cavity.  



>>3. does lemon grass oil work as a swarm lure?
Yes, scout bees will investigate lemon grass scent almost immediately, literally within 30 seconds of you placing it.  But old dirty comb, or propolis scrapings is even more powerful.
>>4. how long do i leave them in the swarm trap to make sure the queen is mated?
Using a nuc trap, means I leave them in the nuc until the first brood cohort is capped.  Also means the nuc is good for 6 weeks without checking, and then to transfer just lift the frames out to a box.

I build my nucs with ply long sides, and 7 1/2 inch fenceboard end boards.  Means I can screw through ply into endgrain of wood for a strong and serviceable butt joint.  The ply is whatever scrap I scrounge.
>> 5. is it to late to start swarm trapping in alabama?
(See local knowledge).  My area has a primary swarm the last of April- first week of May.  Swarms then drop off abruptly. Secondary swarms are more likely virgins or other mistakes.  The late swarms that do take make great hives the next year, as they overwinter with virtually zero mite or other issues built up.  I feed late swarms syrup and pollen to get to 8 frames of bees by November.
>> 6. how hard will it be to find and kill a queen if its ahb?
Don't know. I have AHB locally (not dominant but present), and have requeened and split hives that were aggressive, but only when the behavior became apparent (after the hive is 1 or 2 supers tall).  A swarm and a young hive won't be defensive (in my experience), so you don't really know about the AHB trait.  The behavior manifests itself as the hive builds up.  I don't know about the quick assay that carefully measures the length of the forewings.
>> 7. what type of lemongrass oil do i get food grade or lemongrass oil for aromatherapy
Definitely into fishing lure mythos here--  the active ingredient is also in Rose Geranium oil, etc.  Aroma therapy oil beautifully works to draw scout bees, but see comment about old comb being a stronger draw.  I mixed oil with crisco to prevent evaporation in the past and put in perforated lunch baggies.  But recently just mist the entrance with sugar/lemongrass/lectithin (emulsifier) with a spray bottle.
Seeley Webinar on Swarm selection

« Last Edit: June 13, 2013, 03:44:19 PM by JWChesnut » Logged
thatguy324
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« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2013, 03:57:50 PM »

thanks and one more question if i cant get old comb can i just use bees wax sold in stores or do i need to find and buy it from a beekeeper?
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JWChesnut
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« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2013, 06:15:42 PM »

thanks and one more question if i cant get old comb can i just use bees wax sold in stores or do i need to find and buy it from a beekeeper?
Uff.  I don't think that would work very well.  In a trap you are playing the percentages that  your location is more attractive than the others in the Multiple Listing Real Estate list that the scouts have developed.  Processed wax is pretty inert; bees will (very briefly) check foundation that is warming in the sun, and even the tissue paper used to wrap it, but nothing like a dark old frame covered in propolis.  They ignore scrap wax but greedily search for and gather old propolis. A spill of honey will attract a cloud foragers during the dearth, and sometimes they convert the foraging info to swarm intelligence.

As a lure, the masters keep an alcohol extract of old queens.  Wish I would organize to do that.

If you are planning on bee keeping, you need to meet the local beeks for a host of reasons.  Advertise on Craigs List for one old comb, go to the farmers market, drive around looking for a yard of hives,  and introduce yourself to the beeks that respond.
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thatguy324
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Location: Alabama


« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2013, 08:05:29 PM »

i already got a guy who been beekeeping for about three years and he runs a business for cutouts and swarm removal

i got him a few cutout jobs i was trying to find swarms and people came to me with bees in their walls i always point his uses langs but is building a top bar hive to try out
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JPinMO
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Location: west central MO


« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2013, 01:23:23 AM »

7. what type of lemongrass oil do i get food grade or lemongrass oil for aromatherapy

thanks

thatguy, I have read (but I am by no means an expert), that EO's that are not labelled "food grade" but are made from actual food items are safe to consume. (I personally drop some orange EO on my morning teabag before steeping it, and it's label suggests it be used for aromatherapy). IMHO, the labeling probably has more to do with FDA regulations than anything else.

If you are worried about contaminating your honey, I wouldn't be. I'm sure the bees find much worse stuff (chemicals) than three drops of lemongrass oil at the entrance of your swarm trap.
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thatguy324
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Location: Alabama


« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2013, 12:58:13 PM »

alright thanks
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